Remember when you bought your first house or your first new car or your first share of stock or even went on your first date? Those were thrilling but scary moves as you wondered if you were doing the right thing. But for most of us, it proved to be valuable for building our lives.
Think of moving to “the cloud” as the same sort of decision. It’s a big but smart step into improving your company’s present and its future. It offers many tools you need to expand your work in system integration.
The cloud can transform your business by adding efficiency, savings, and the ability to adapt to your needs. Leveraging the cloud in lieu of an internal infrastructure reduces numerous time pressured technology demands creating more work – life balance.
This isn’t just for huge firms, either.
While large companies have embraced the cloud transformation, a greater percentage of small and midsized businesses with 1-to-250 employees already are using the cloud, especially if they are in processing or storage intensive industries including professional services (such as architecture, audio visual, art, music, design, healthcare, legal and engineering) as well as technical manufacturing and large-scale commercial and large-scale residential construction.
The cloud, in a nutshell, refers to numerous servers (computers) in data centers. Cloud services use this power and flexibility to replace your need to maintain on-premise software applications.
With cloud computing your organization gains savings and flexibility. You also can increase capacity, which is more costly, time consuming and more complicated if you’re using in-house information technology.
And cloud services give your company an amazing range of business applications: Point-of-sale systems, project management systems, automatic synchronization of projects and tasks into other task-based systems, automatic date synchronization into popular calendar apps, online web forms, code repositories, team chat apps, and automatic publication of content to social media.
In addition, the ability to use data collection and orchestration software as well as custom applications to manage customer data streams or business intelligence tools is exceptional.
Perhaps best of all, the cloud doesn’t gobble up your capital expenditure budget. Instead, it operates on a subscription model that charges you for usage of only the services you access. This pay-as-you-go approach is good news for your operational expenditure budget.
Making the switch
Don’t fall behind! Moving to the cloud can be made easier by partnering with knowledge cloud service providers. It will require some learning on your part but remember that many of your competitors are already there.
Users like the cloud because it lowers total costs and provides enhanced security, greater flexibility, improved quality control, better loss prevention and automatic software updates, among other benefits.
- Easy management. No longer will your high-value employees lose time tending to technical issues. Now they will be free to do what they do best, making your company and customers stronger.
- Redundancy, disaster readiness and an equipment agnostic approach are built into the cloud.
- Microsoft Teams, Slack and Trello are just several of the many reliable tools in the cloud that enhance corporate and customer collaboration.
- Cloud computing allows access to information anywhere with any compatible device, a benefit for employees working remotely.
- Strong security is built into the cloud, with numerous controls and safety measures to guard against theft, deletion etc. Among the methods: firewalls, penetration testing, virtual private networks (VPN), and tokenization. Find a cloud partner whose technology tracks all access to files and folders and promptly alerts you and IT teams about suspicious activity.
The sooner your business moves to the cloud, the quicker you will remove your reliance on outdated technology and improve your bottom line.
You become more competitive because the cloud provides scalability and elasticity which is the ability to promptly grow or shrink as business changes.
Finding a cloud partner
Numerous well-established companies provide cloud services. They include Microsoft Azure, AWS (Amazon Web Services), IBM, Cisco Systems, Google Cloud, Oracle, SalesForce and EMC Corp. In China, Alibaba is the biggest.
There are three main forms of cloud computing services; many providers offering hybrid models as well.
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) you have virtualized computing resources over the Internet.
- PaaS (Platform as a Service PaaS) is often used by people developing applications.
- SaaS (Software as a Service) you access software through a subscription rather than buying a license and installation for each computer. This is the most common type of service people think about.
- One interesting hybrid model is DaaS (Desktop as a Service), allowing you to provide your users fully functional windows virtual desktops providing full secure access to their virtual workplace from anywhere at anytime.
Shop around to determine which meets your needs and goals.
Above all, stick to well-known, reputable cloud providers and leverage service partners with knowledgeable experienced staff to help you make the move and use the environment most effectively.
If you choose otherwise, be prepared to learn, learn, and learn some more about the cloud and how to deploy and manage the services!
You may also choose to move some functions to the cloud while keeping others in-house.
System integration opportunities
The cloud offers untold opportunities for system integration. And it gives small companies the same technical powers that bigger rivals enjoy.
By focusing on technology, communication and collaboration, the cloud makes system integration easier.
You will find appealing new ways to join different components into a large system, creating value and products for your customers while reducing costs and responding more quickly to requests. This is the proverbial win-win.
This approach has spread across many innovative businesses around the world.
The cloud and system integration help you expand communication, work smarter and more quickly.
- Point-of-sale systems let you automatically synchronize products and stock levels into your e-commerce store.
- Project management systems can automatically synchronize projects and tasks into other task-based systems. One sample: Automatic date synchronization into popular apps such as Google Calendar or Office 365 Calendar.
- Web forms will automatically populate sales leads into a customer relationship management (CRM) like Salesforce. It can help your company organize and maximize customer relations.
- Transactional email and marketing systems automatically synchronize communications to and from CRMs.
- Code repositories automatically create new software issues found by bug reporting systems.
- Team chat apps allow department-specific notifications.
- You can expand your social media presence by automatically publishing content to LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites.
- Automatic software updates are a striking upgrade over in-house updates, which often slow your company’s performance and take up your IT department’s time.
And these are just a few of potentially thousands of positive steps your business can take to attract and retain customers while reducing costs.
The cloud is a great tool for making many businesses more nimble and sustainable. It’s essential for companies that want to grow proactively into the future.